Owning a business or running an office in Southern California often means heavy reliance on air conditioning. Keeping customers and employees comfortable throughout the year needs a functioning AC system. Any outages or efficiency drops change your indoor environment producing wide-ranging negative results. Unfavorable customer experience and impaired employee morale are not conducive to a healthy business. Restore the fitness of your cooling system at the earliest possible moment.
Call Us for Commercial Air Con Repairs
For decades, West Coast Chief has been Los Angeles’ favored option for commercial AC repair. With five-star customer service and a staff of highly trained and dedicated experts, we’ll resolve your cooling problems quickly and at a price you can afford.
How Air Conditioners Work
The mechanics behind air conditioning are simple. In basic terms, a continuous loop of liquid filled tube has one part of it in a warm place and another in a colder place. The section of pipe in the warm place (inside) absorbs the heat. The warm liquid then circulates to the colder place (outside) and dissipates the heat. We make it more efficient and effective with pumps, fans, and refrigeration but that’s the principle in a nutshell.
The physics of refrigeration are a little more complex but still easy to understand. If a liquid, kept under pressure, undergoes rapid release from that pressure to become a gas, the temperature drops. Wet your hand and blow on it. Feel the cold? That’s the effect of water changing from a liquid to a gas. While we use water in evaporative or swamp coolers its boiling point is too high for a modern AC unit.
In the past, we used dangerous chemicals like ammonia as the refrigerant. CFC’s took over under the brand name Freon, but they came with their own issues. While non-toxic and non-flammable, chlorofluorocarbons, or their replacements, are not friends to the environment. Southern California regulates the disposal of old AC units via the Certified Appliance Recycler (CAR) Program.
Modern air conditioning units have four basic parts:
- A compressor takes the refrigerant gas, warmed by passing through the interior of the building, and increases the pressure.
- The pressurized vapor passes through a condenser where it loses its heat and turns to liquid.
- An expansion valve where the rapid expansion occurs and reduces the temperature further.
- The valve empties into the evaporator which is where the liquid refrigerant evaporates into a gas. The evaporator is the cold stage which provides the interior cooling.
Common Problems with Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioners
Split system air conditioners have indoor and outdoor units, hence the term “split”. Components housed outside include a compressor and a condenser. The expansion valve and the evaporator that it empties into are inside. The cold refrigerant passes through pipework to a device in a convenient position to cool a room or area. Multi-split systems cater for multiple cooling units throughout a building. This type is easy to identify by the large boxes, often with fans in, on the roof or walls
Inadequate or a complete absence of cooling power is the most common repair-worthy symptoms in all types of commercial AC systems, including split systems. A malfunctioning split system can also trigger obvious changes in a building’s air quality, often in the form of a disagreeable odor. A general decline in efficiency may first register as an unexplained increase in your building’s utility expenditures. In addition, multi-split systems have their own unique problems. Unexpected temperature variations in cooling zones sharing identical thermostat settings is one example.
Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner
PTAC’s are often found in commercial buildings like hotels and care homes. Single rooms or small groups of rooms can then be controlled individually by this isolated device. The typical installation is through an exterior wall and can heat as well as cool. Common symptoms and their causes include:
- Ice formation
- Water leaks inside
- Water drips outside
- Excessive noise
- Dirty filters
- Blocked vents
Central and HVAC
Where the whole process is carried out at a centralized point and distributed through the premises through ducting. In the winter, the whole system can be put into reverse to produce heat, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC for short.
HVAC systems combine heating and cooling functions into a single integrated package. Some of these systems combine a traditional air conditioner with a heat-generating furnace powered by natural gas, propane or electricity. However, other HVAC setups feature a heat pump. This multi-use device functions like a heat transfer system in colder parts of the year by pulling warmth from the outside air, the ground or a nearby water source. In warmer months, a heat pump can function like an AC by passing warm interior air over a refrigerant-filled cooling coil.
There are several variations on the basic HVAC layout. Whether they contain a furnace or a heat pump, many setups feature a split-system arrangement with indoor and outdoor sections, as well as a connected network of ducts. Additional options include duct-free split systems and packaged systems that combine all heating and cooling components (including the AC’s compressor, condenser, and evaporator) in a single outdoor unit.
Like split systems, the air conditioning sections of HVAC systems have a list of common problems that includes inadequate cooling, complete cooling failure and a notable decline in operating efficiency. Malfunctioning AC sections in HVAC systems can also contribute to foul smells and other air quality issues. An unexplained increase in your indoor humidity levels while the AC is running may also indicate the presence of a repair-worthy performance issue.
Commercial Evaporative Coolers and Swamp Coolers
Evaporative cooler and swamp cooler are two common names for a single air cooling technology that differs in crucial ways from the traditional approach to air conditioning. While traditional ACs rely on a refrigerant chemical to supply the temperature drop needed for cooling, evaporative and swamp coolers take advantage of the natural actions of evaporation, a process that changes water from a liquid into a vapor or gas. In addition, while air conditioners operate in sealed building interiors, evaporative and swamp coolers operate in unsealed buildings or in outdoor spaces like warehouses. The main components of an evaporative cooling system are a water tank, a pump that transfers water from the tank to an array of sponge-like cooling pads, and a ventilator motor and fan assembly that produce evaporation by blowing air over the water-drenched cooling pads.
While less complicated than conventional ACs, evaporative coolers and swamp coolers can still fail to operate at an acceptable level of efficiency or completely break down. Classic indications of repair-worthy problems in these units include insufficient or nonexistent cooling and poor air output. Additional common issues include corrosion of metal parts, the production of foul smells and abnormally high water consumption.
The Importance of Accurate Troubleshooting and Repair
No matter what type of cooling system you have installed in your commercial building, the problems you experience commonly have more than one possible underlying cause. This means that anyone you call to fix those problems must have enough training and experience to conduct a thorough, time-conscious examination of your system and identify the actual source of your AC malfunction. The best service providers are familiar with all types of AC systems, as well as the wide gamut of potential system configurations, and won’t be thrown by unexpected or rare issues. The best commercial AC service providers also employ expert technicians who know how to repair newer and older units produced by all major manufacturers. In addition, they use only high-quality parts specifically designed to repair the make and model of the unit in question.
The Commercial AC Repair Experts
Since opening for business in 1992, West Coast Chief has specialized in the repair of commercial AC systems, including all configurations of split-system, HVAC, and evaporative cooling technology. On every job, we combine decades of expertise with a thorough commitment to the very best in customer service, convenience, and affordability. Advantages you can count on include: clear explanations of all required work, ironclad warranties on all parts and labor, and convenient appointments via our three Los Angeles-area locations.
Los Angeles, CA
“Great company and great customer service. They worked around my schedule and were able to come on Saturday to check my AC. I received a call 30 minutes prior to tech’s arrival. The guy was very polite, he identified the problem and was able to fix it on the spot. He even went to his car to find the right filter and replaced it for free. Now my AC is up and running, ready for the Los Angeles heat.”